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Pick up any wedding magazine these days and you will realize that you need a money tree to shake in order to afford a nice wedding. Does the sound of a “budget” wedding make you cringe? Does it conjure up images of dollies, chocolate covered almonds, bubbles, and food that should be used as doorstops instead of being consumed by humans? You don’t have to bankrupt yourself or your parents to have a hip and affordable wedding. Think of all the things you could do with $50,000:
- Feed many small nations
- Down payment for a new house
- Pay off your student loans
- Take a round-the-world trip of a lifetime
- Start a new business
- …and so much more
Your wedding should be about your marriage and not about the wedding, but I do understand the pressures to create an amazing event. After all, it should be one of the best days in your life.
Ready, Set, Let’s Get Wed:
Rule number one to bring your wedding in on budget is to actually have a budget! This shouldn’t come as a shock to you, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that simply forget this important step. Know your numbers — know what you can spend, and where it is coming from, where it is going, and be as detailed as possible.
The Eight Great Ideas:
Location, Location, Location — You are no stranger to those words in real estate, but this is where you can save massive amounts of money for your wedding. Does a friend have a killer backyard you could borrow? Are you friends with a restaurant owner and you could use the space on their day off? Do you have a special skill or talent that you could barter for a free or reduced cost wedding venue? Look at who and what is around you and I guarantee you can find an amazing venue for next to nothing.
The Dress — Girls, this one is for you. I know that when you pick up your copy of Martha Stewart weddings you drool with desire over the designer gowns. Pish Posh! You can do just as good, without the crazy price tag. Look for a dress hanging on the rack that fits you. Offer a cash payment to drop the price even lower. Another great idea is to either rent your dress, or if you have a friend that wore a killer dress, ask if you can buy it from her. You would be amazed at what a little altering can do!
Vacation on My Mind — Do you suffer from wanderlust — an endless desire to travel? Skip the wedding gifts that you will probably return anyway and register for something super special. You can use sites like honeymoonwishes for a wedding honeymoon registry and go on an amazing trip instead of receiving the traditional household gifts. You can register for a trip anywhere in the world and give your guests a special code to login and make a contribution. The money gets deposited in a banking or savings account that you specify in a matter of days.
Ready for My Close Up — Pictures is another place where you are likely to demolish your budget if you’re not careful. However, with the advances in technology and the amazing cameras on cellphones, you have no excuses anymore. Companies like Eversnap are your wedding budget’s best friend. Guests can snap pictures all night long and upload them to your custom site. You can have the advantage of many different photographers. Then, hire a professional photographer for a few hours to fill in and round out your pictures.
Let’s Eat — Ah, back to the stale food. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain here. You can hire an amazing wood burning pizza truck to make gourmet pizzas at half the price of a caterer but double the hip factor. Do you have a friend or family member who could make amazing appetizers at cost? Honestly, if you put your mind to it, you can be both inventive and budget conscious without your guests even knowing. Trust me, their bellies will thank you!
Twistin’ The Night Away — You don’t need to spend thousands on a band or a DJ to have an awesome dance party at your wedding. Here’s what you need: good speakers, a mixing deck if you can get access to it, and an iPod loaded with some great dance songs. Pay a friend to be your DJ. The important focus should be on your guests having a good time, and after a few cocktails, they won’t notice if you had a six-piece band or a great playlist.
Let’s Accentuate — Everyone loves the smell of fresh flowers at a wedding but gone are the days of needing a flower to cover every service at your wedding. Think of flowers and decor as “accentuators,” not the main feature. One of the best secrets is to set aside some money and go to a local flower shop or even local grocery stores the day of your wedding. You may not get exactly what you have your heart set on, but I guarantee you will have plenty of options at a fraction of the price.
Some of the best wedding accessories such as candles, candle holders, and vases can be found at the 99-Cent store. I swear by it! No one would even know that you only spent $50 and were able to adorn every table with sweet smelling candles and funky vases.
Put a Ring on It — Yes, I know, this is where I may lose you. Wedding rings are the symbol of marriage and they come in every shape and size. Some shinier than others. Being creative with your cash doesn’t stop here. There are so many deals and opportunities to get a “good” ring for decent price.
If you’ve been paying attention at all the last few years, the price of gold is very high. Right now, it is jumping up and down around $1300 per ounce! What does this mean to you? If you have any old gold jewelry laying around this is your lucky day. Chances are you might be able to sell your old pieces and have enough money to get a shiny new ring. Maybe even the whole wedding set.
It is possible to stun your guests with a hip and stylish wedding that is also affordable. There are no prizes for the most money spent on a wedding. You won’t get your picture in a fancy magazine either. All you are left with is an empty bank account. Hopefully with these simple strategies you can start imagining your wedding, with all the glitz and glamour, at a fraction the price.